Friday, April 29, 2016

Blue Wing Paradise (With Video)

          Hello Everyone and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures. This blog is brought to you by Coolio… I know…. but hang in there…. you’ll see why. With the grey clouds, great flows (the river is sitting at 400cfs), and with a bit of a hunch we loaded the car and sprinted to the river today. Arriving around eleven we found a ghost town and had our choice of holes. The fish were hungry and five hours later we could fish no longer. Today was a perfect storm, pun intended. Yes, we got soaked, sure our fingers went a bit numb at the end of the day, but wow what a day. What bugs were working? Glad you asked this takes us back to Coolio…or our version of his song.

          “As I walk through the valley in the shadow of P.West, I take a look around me realize this might be the best. Cuz I’ve been castin and fishin so long that even the pooh-dog thinks my mind is gone…. Been spending most our lives longing for this Bluewing Paradise!”

          The Bluewings were thick today! We never switched to a dry as the fat snowflakes made visibility difficult, but using an FOD under the surface killed it. There were black midges flitting about all day and patterns matching them brought in a few as well. The video below is a compilation of today’s adventures and we hope you enjoy it. As always Connell, Cat, Dangerous Minds, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading!

P.S. Winston was unable to join us today due to the weather, but he wants to ensure his fans that he will be back out on the water soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Time To Reflect....

                Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. I wanted to warn you all ahead of time that if you think my writing is usually all over the place, today’s blog may resemble a box of chocolates. On Tuesday I was talking to my brother-in-law on the phone and I told him how awesome the fishing had been and it was too bad he wasn’t here. That evening he called and said he was coming to P-town to get some learning. Our plan was Thursday on the Ark, Friday in South Park, and Saturday wherever. Thursday, half way through the fishing day, Cat called and told me that Prince had died and my mind was immediately whisked back to 1986.
                I have told this story before but this is the perfect time to tell it again. My first two weeks living in Colorado were spent at work, on the water or at my living quarters that had no TV, radio, or any connection to the outside world. The only entertainment was a tiny television with a beta player. To make matters worse, the only tapes we had were Purple Rain, and The Breakfast Club. I had never seen Purple Rain before and had only known Prince as the guy with the dirty songs. After several trips through the B-club it was time to try Prince. I was blown away, and when Prince walked out on stage and said “this is a song by the girls in the band, Lisa and Wendy”, I nearly drowned in my own tears. And yes I know, I’m a total softy wimp. Both movies were watched several times before we moved to a nicer place, with real TV. As My first summer in Winter Park, I spent quite a few evenings in the dance club. I was never really a dancer but when Prince would come on I would head to the floor. I bought the cassette of Purple Rain and absolutely fell in love with The Beautiful Ones. The song itself is a little schizophrenic, the song is absolutely beautiful but at the same time horribly sad. “The beautiful ones always smash the picture, always, every time”. I know it is only a song but I can’t help but think that it was a little window into the life of Prince. There were never horrible headline about the guy but everything I ever read was that he was a complete loner. How sad, so musically talented but all alone. Here is where the blog goes in different places.
                After spending the weekend with Jim, Cat, Brandon, Winston and friends it hit me how special my life is. Teaching family how to fly fish can be a little frustrating at times but thank God I have the family, and sorry Prince you’re wrong, the Beautiful ones don’t always smash the picture (thanks Cat).
                Now on to the fishing; Thursday and today were spent here on the Ark. Those days were both very sunny and I found that the fishing was very technical. A good cast and drift seemed to produce but anything less and you could hear the fish laughing at us. I landed quite a few but I know that Jim struggled a little, but he did manage a few good ones to the net. On Friday we made our way up the Spinney and pretty much had our you-know-what’s handed to us. It was the only day we weren’t keeping score because otherwise Jim would have been the big winner. Our fishing tribute to Prince had Cat and I singing our own lyrics to Prince songs. My favorite was with the always cold temps of South Park, Cat started singing “Purple toes, Purple toes”. Saturday Jim fished by himself and Brandon and I went out and watched / heckled, Jim still managed to land several fish that day. Cat got stuck working in the shop today so my time on the water was spent alone, fishing and thinking, probably why this blog is a little hard to follow. While standing in a run today, an old friend walked up on me and was out fishing with his daughter. Watching DJ and Taylor together sent a bit of a chill up my spine. Later I saw Tyler and his dad and they both had a huge grin on their faces. Once again, how awesome is life.

                I hate to sound like a homer but fish the last few days continued to be on the FOD, Ninja, and the Crystal Black Beauty. I have tried playing with a third to the arsenal but it doesn’t seem to matter what the middle fly is, those flies were productive. The weather this week looks great for being outside but not the easiest of fishing conditions. These are perfect conditions for a guide trip. Sight fishing to picky fish, you will learn or….Anyway, get here before the river blows up. As always, Connell, Cat, Jimbo, Darling Nicky,Winston and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading…..

                                         Dj and Taylor

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cat-less B-day Fishing....

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. I don’t remember the last time Cat and I didn’t fish together on her birthday but with Alex celebrating her special day by going to Wyoming, Cat got stuck in the shop. And that meant Winston and I spent the day baching it. Work issues didn’t allow me to get to the river until around noon. The river had another bump today but didn’t really seem to matter. The first hour was pretty slow, but when the bugs began to hatch, fish began to eat. The fish today were very aware of the extra strength they could get from the main current and they headed that way almost every hookup. I had just landed my fattest fish of the day when Tyler showed up. He told me that he had just kicked tail this morning and I told him the river was getting the better of me. We fished our way up river and he said maybe all the fish were in the run he was fishing this morning. We walked up to his “Secret spot” and before he could get in, someone else jumped in. The run was still hot and we watched a guy hook several fish. We mover up and after thinking about the look of the “secret run”, I thought about one that was similar. I moved in at I fished it like a normal Rocky road trip. A few casts in and I hooked and landed a 15incher. The next seven hookups were all lost, some spit the hook early and I think three came unbuttoned as I was lifting for the net (dumb bullpen). I landed number 9, a chunky 19incher and then I hooked, and lost the next three. Two wins and 10 losses, sound about right. As I was heading back to the car I saw Tyler jump back into his “secret run” and hook 3 out of 4 casts. I wonder if he may be right, the hole is full of fish.

          I don’t feel bad about abandoning my wife on her birthday because I think she got the coolest gift ever on Friday, and I’m not talking just about me. If you are not aware, Cat is an absolute book freak, she owns boxes and boxes and has even written a novel. Our friend Tyler has posted several pics over the years of some incredible woodwork that he does. I began to conspire with him a few months back about building Cat the coolest bookshelf ever, I had two requirements, that it be personal to Cat, and that it needed to be Tyleresque. The bookcase was not necessarily built for Cats B-day but the timing worked pretty well. The Case made it on Friday and when I saw it for the first time, it nearly brought me to tears. The case was built with inlays that looked like cats BWO tattoo and another that looked like Cat. The unveiling for Cat couldn’t have been any better, where my tears were held back, Cat let them go. Anyway, I wanted to give a quick shout out for Tyler’s work.  If you are looking to have any specialized woodwork built, I would definitely get with Tyler, he is spectacular. His number is 719-251-3341 and the wood rack in the front of the store is also his work.

          Fish today were on FOD’s, Black Beauties and Ninjas. With the bump in the flow, please be extremely careful when wading. Tyler said he hid a secret bomb in Cat’s bookshelf and will detonate if I post the spot, but he was okay if I use it in a guide trip. I am available Tuesday or later in the week. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Tyler and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

PS Pueblo Tailwater Renegades are hosting a river clean up on April 23rd. They will be meeting up at 8:30am at the Valco ponds parking lot. Refreshments will be available, but please bring your own work gloves. This is a great way to give back to the river we love and we encourage anyone who can make to come!



Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Day Guides Dream Of......

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures Blog. As the title states, this was the kind of day a guide dreams of. While on our way to the river I was getting acquainted with Becky and after appearing a little uncomfortable and looking around my car, she eventually asked where the dog was. I know Winston gave me a dirty look this morning after seeing me pack my net, but now there were two entities that wanted him there. Oh well, and for future guide trips, if you want Winston to come along, you must let me know ahead of time and in addition to my huge tip, you will be responsible for a burrito or two for Winnie.
          On to the fishing, Becky grew up here in P-town but has been away for many years. She has had a huge desire to really sharpen her skills as a fly fisherman, but work and life had kept her a little wet behind the ears. She has read the blog over the years and thought that her home town would be a great place to continue her fishy education. We got to the water just a little after 11:00am and the fish were going nuts. We worked a little on seeing the fish and a little on different drifts, and just a few casts in Becky landed a 15 inch bow. I looked a little silly, because I told her that NO ONE ever lands there first P-town fish. To make me look even sillier, she landed her first four hookups, an 18, 19, and a 20. And yes we have a new member of the 20inch club(And she received her hat).
Eventually, she finally began fishing like the rest of us and alternated break offs, landing and spit hooks throughout the day. We got into one spot and we saw a very nice brown, but just about the time she told me that she had never caught a brown he disappeared. Toward the end of the day Becky fought and landed the beauty of the day, he was an absolute gorgeous male bow with not a mark on him. Unfortunately, after measuring, Becky’s hands were a little shaky and a little too slick. L Perhaps the fish was picture shy. As the day was finishing out we made that one last stop, after a quick break off and retie, Becky began fighting another fish, when he exploded out of the water I could see it was a brown. With bulged eyes, she flawlessly worked the Brown to the net. Was this enough to bring Becky back to P-town, only time will tell and a brown trout can be checked off her bucket list.

          The river today was outstanding. If you have been contemplating a guide trip I would say to book now, we have no idea how long these great flows will last. Shop phone is 719-543-3900 my cell is 719-568-4927. Fish today were on FOD’s and Ninjas. As always, Connell, Cat, Jealous Winston, Becky and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading….

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On The South Park Bus..... A Day At Spinney

          Hello all and thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures Blog. Today’s title came to me about an hour into the day. Between Facebook posts and customer gossip, yes our gossip comes in the form of fish tales, Cat and I decided to make our way up to Spinney this morning to “meet some friends of ours.”  Not so whispered exclamations of the BEST FISHING ever bounced around the shop walls and after looking at the weather forecast, we decided before we even got to South Park, that this would indeed be the best day ever.
        We got up many hours before normal and made it to the reservoir around 8:30. The entire drive up, I envisioned the exact spot I wanted to wet a line in, but as we arrived, I could see people shoulder to shoulder along my entire hopeful area. A bit disappointed, but not phased, we moved to the other side of the lake and found a spot that both of us could fish without hooking someone in the eye. After about an hour, I had come to the conclusion that South Park should be part of the Jenny Craig program. Every time I go there I absolutely freeze my A** off. I know, very corny. Now back to the story, an hour and a half in and with hundreds of anglers in sight, I did not see a single hookup. This is when the South Park theme song went through my head, because when you’re not hooking fish such things do go through your head, and the bus scene at the beginning reminded me that the Cat and I and the rest of the anglers were getting schooled. And just about the time the feeling completely left my toes, I saw a fish rise to the side of me. I quickly casted over and had a miss and then BAM my first fish of the day. People quickly crowded in and needing to warm up we headed back to the car.
          After warming up and heading to a different area, Cat and I found a spot with the wind at our backs. We got there just in time because a group of seven guys were hot on our tail. I hooked a fish pretty quickly and then lost him.  Here is where the story gets interest, Spinney, over the years has been much nicer to me than to Cat, and I found myself beginning to feel just a wee bit sad for her(but not sad enough to give up my spot). And then, the schooling came from Cat. In the next 45 minutes, Cat landed a total of five absolutely gorgeous fish. The biggest was determined to escape the net before a proper measurement, but looked between 23 and 24 inches and it made Cartman look like the skinny kid.
Now here is where things get strange; being what I think is a pretty good angler, I quite often get asked in the parking lot, on the river, or wherever what I was doing that allowed me to catch so many fish. As Cat was half way through her roll, I watched several of the people up the bank staring and cussing under their breath. Then I watched a lady set her stuff down and walk down to Cat, “excuse me miss, can you tell me what it is you are using, none of us have even gotten a bite.” I was so proud of my wife, although I wanted to inform the lady that I had caught some too. We both caught a few more and cold sent us back to the car. As we were heading back, we saw that the place I originally wanted to fish had slightly cleared of people. We jumped in between a boat and a few spinner guys, and second cast I hooked another bow. A minute or so later another and then it just died for us. I’m not going to say that this was a magnificent day for fishing, but spending the day in South Park sure beats the heck out of sitting home and watching my boy Spieth implode. I don’t know if it was true or not and I don’t know if I should be happy or not, but as we were heading back to the car, Cat told me that when I hooked the second fish, one of the guys in the boat said, “Screw it, I’m done”.
While I truly feel our bit of Ark still has some sweet spring fishing days waiting for us, I thought it would be good to start getting everyone thinking about still water fishing. We know fishing lakes, reservoirs, and ponds can be a little intimidating and to help out, we are offering the same spring special as we did last year. I believe that the Accel in a 9.5’ 6wt may be the absolute best lake rod of all time, and the Fishcat and Outcast pontoons are typically the best way to fish lakes. So, if you purchase a fishcat or Outcast pontoon boat or a Sage Accel rod from the Drift, we will give a free private sit down with Cat or I to go over rigging, fly selection, specific lakes, needed accessories and hopefully everything you need to know to fish our incredible lakes. We want your time on the water to be as productive as ours and for you to get the most out of your investment. As always, Connell, Cat, Winston, Kenny(those bas*****), and the Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading……

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Reunited !!! (With Spring 2016 Epic Video)!!!

“Reunited and it feels so good”!

If you are under thirty years old you are probably wondering if this was one of those cheesy 70’s pop love songs, and if you are over thirty than you are sure it was one of those 70’s cheesy pop songs.  I wanted to start by thanking you all for checking in at The O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventures blog. It sure has been an absolutely incredible spring here on the Ark. I hate to admit it but after the flood waters of last summer and the high dirty water of last fall, at times I began to worry about the health of our river. As spring rolled in, I anxiously awaited to finally get a great look at the river and boy was I thrilled. I have seen (not caught unfortunately) fish that are over 25 inches and I have landed more 17 to 22 inch absolute perfect bows than I can try to count. The river is in better condition than maybe I have ever seen, and yes that includes the “Glory Days” of 07 through 11.
Now onto the goofy Peaches and Herb song; I have been lucky enough and abetted enough to have been thoroughly involved with this sport for over 15 years. I have been lucky enough to watch my incredible wife catch her first fish on a fly rod, and then see her obsession turn into not only a profession for her but me as well. Reunited comes into play as we turn our attention to the tools of the trade. When Cat first became addicted to fly fishing, she had just encouraged me to purchase my first high end fly rod, it was a Sage XP. Being the uninformed sexist that I am, the first rod I purchased for Cat was a Sage Light Line. She tried it out a few times but I could see that it was too slow for her and she moved into the same XP that I had been fishing. It was perfect for us because we could absolutely rapid fire at fish, side by side, as we made our way up our favorite creek. I still remember those calls to each other, “that was number 79, what are you at”? The competitiveness for numbers and beauty continued on but the camaraderie with our tools stood for years. Well we both drifted a little and our obsession with competitiveness became more about each other’s rods and less about the fish. As most of you know, I made my way back to Sage a couple of years ago and Cat made it back early this year. Reunited and it feels so good! A warning to the fish, our team is now focused on just you.
Cat has recently been asked to be part of the Sage Elite Pro team and after this spring fishing the One, she jumped at the chance. Reunited and it feels so good. It is such an honor to be part of the greatest fly rod company in the world. I hope all of our readers get a chance to congratulate Cat on being a Sage Elite Pro, the honor is well deserved and a little overdue.
The video we are putting out is of the river this spring. Due to surgery, a cold and a lot of guide trips, we didn’t get to fish as much as we wanted, but after going through some of the footage, we were reminded of what even a small amount of time on the Ark can produce. One of the great things about going through the footage is seeing things that you never saw on the river (the lady at the bridge comes to mind; Taylor 2014). This year’s surprise comes in the third clip when out of nowhere I see a small submarine make its way up a sand bar, just out of my fishing line of sight, smart fish. The Sage Accel and the Sage One with the 4250 reel did the dirty work for the video. Cat and just sat back, and enjoyed the process. Winston was once again overjoyed with the chance to close out the video, so make sure you watch until the end.
If you had noticed the river come up the other day, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. I’m not an expert, but I do play one in our fishing videos, but I can’t imagine the water staying this all the way till runoff. My best guess, and it is only an educated guess, is that the flows will bounce back and forth between 400 and 1100cfs until runoff hits. And yes the river is fishable at 1100cfs, just be smart, safe, and wise. The midges have been hatching on and off all day, and BWO can be seen popping in the late afternoon. Fish are mostly done spawning and have starting turning their focus to eating.
As Always,  Connell, Cat, Winston, Bandor, Peaches and Herb, and The Drift Fly want to thank you for reading……

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Revealing The Natural

            Hello everyone! Thanks for checking in at the O’Grady Fly Fishing Adventure. This is Cat writing today, so I am afraid if you were hoping for a great sports analogy or thinly veiled story about a firecracker, you will have to wait for Connell’s return. Meanwhile, sit back and let me share the tale of the rare sighting I have made.....
            They lurk among us, hiding on golf greens, playing video games, and sometimes playing basketball at the slabs. These creatures exist without warning and with no outward sign of what they are capable of.   Beware! They might even be in your own home. What are these bizarre beings of whom I mention? They are THE NATURALS, and this week I had the pleasure of guiding one.
            As a guide I see all manner of skill level in my clients. From the never-ever to the well salted semi-pro, the goal for trips is ultimately the same; to spread knowledge and have a good time doing so. With this in mind I happily accepted the chance to spend a few trips with a great set of gentlemen, a father and son pair.
            The father is a seasoned fishy guy. He has fished in many places and has followed the journey of a fly fishing spirit in many directions. As we spoke a few weeks back, he made it very clear that he wanted his son to have a fun introduction to fly fishing. You see, his son had never fly fished. Which for a barely sixteen-year old from a big “fishless” city, this is no surprise. Needless to say I was so excited to help and prepared myself for a few days of teaching.
            For day number one, we decided to do a half-day on the Tailwater. Once on the water I suggested a spot for the dad and set to work on the son. After a quick explanation of casting, line management, hooking and landing fish, we were off. Half an hour later I had my mind BLOWN.
            I was standing in a run with JD, the son, when in his quiet voice, he asked, “Can I fish to those fish over there?” Peering over to the direction of his pointing I was shocked to see two shadows shifting under the surface. I smiled and said yes, and watch him make beautiful casts to fish hidden from the view of typical fisherman. This young man could see fish in a way most advanced fisherman have yet to achieve. JD with his superhuman fish spotting eyes, his keen ear for direction, and his desire for perfect execution, is a NATURAL. The first fish JD landed was a nineteen inch beauty. His father, David, and I teased him that having this fish as his first ever on a fly rod was going to ruin him. JD didn’t understand what we meant until his next few fish were closer to twelve inches. We enjoyed the rest of the day. Picking up some fish and enjoying the Ark.
            For the second day of our adventures we headed to private water. There both father and son landed beautiful fish and enjoyed each other’s company. From time to time when I wasn’t landing fish or taking pictures, I watched father and son fish side by side. The sight warmed my heart and made me realize something. Yes, Natural fly fishermen are rare, but even rarer is a father going to great lengths and taking such great care to persuade a sports playing, tennis shoe collecting teen, to not only try fly fishing..... but to potentially fall in love with it.

As always Cat, Connell, Winston, NIKE, and The Drift Fly Shop want to thank you for reading!